I think it was my senior year in college, when I was trying hard to be a Fiction Writer and was desperate for women who were writing the way the voices in my head sounded, that I first stumbled upon Sandra Cisneros' The House on Mango Street. I was smitten. Spare, simple language, the rythmn of the life of the title street reflected in the rythmn of the words. She became and remained one of a group of women who changed the way I wrote and the way I thought about writing, along with Lorrie Moore, Amy Hempel, Jane Ann Phillips and Mona Simpson. I'm thrilled to note she's on the UM campus this week. Tomorrow night, she gives the Hispanic Heritage Keynote Speech (entitled "Why I'm not Hispanic") at the Rackham auditorium at 7:30 pm. She's also featured in a mid-day talk on Friday, in her PJs no less. Unfortunately, I've another commitment so I can't catch the Friday one, which takes place from 11 - 1 in Angell Hall. The intriguing description is below:
Dressed in their pajamas, author, Sandra Cisneros and U-M Professor of Anthropology and Women's Studies, Ruth Behar will have a public conversation. They will discuss a range of topics, including writing, books, and being Latinas, topics which they have been talking about for over a decade. A continental breakfast will be served.